Kiwi Shot Put legend, Valerie Adams, has today become the third athlete to announce their support for Doha’s Bid to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships. The reigning World, World Indoor, Olympic and Commonwealth Champion believes that hosting the World Championships in Doha will connect more young females to athletics.
Adams has just finished another remarkable season becoming the Diamond Race winner for the fourth consecutive time, having already won her third World Indoor title at the beginning of the season and her third Commonwealth title over the summer. Adams also has two Olympic titles and four World Championship titles, becoming the first woman in history to win four consecutive World Championships.
As one of the world’s most successful female athletes, Adams understands the importance of her status in being a role model for athletics and for young females across the world. The Middle East has never hosted the IAAF World Championships before and this presents an opportunity to showcase elite athletes like Adams to the young females of the region and inspire them by what they see. Speaking about her support, Adams said:
“Athletics is my life and it means everything to me. It has taught me many of life’s lessons and has made me a stronger, more confident woman. I really hope that more young females can benefit from athletics in the same way that I have. Hosting the World Championships in the Middle East for the first time ever will showcase live athletics to a new generation of young females in the region. I believe that Doha 2019 will inspire them to see that anything is possible and women’s athletics across the Middle East will continue to advance as a result.”
Female athletics in Qatar has begun to take root over recent years. Since 2007, the Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) has been running a youth participation initiative in collaboration with the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence. This has both served to connect thousands of young girls to athletics for the first time and to identify talented young athletes who have gone on to join the QAF’s national squad development programme. These efforts are already producing success at competition level, with Qatar one of the leading performers at GCC competitions, as well as producing strong results at both the Arab and West Asian level. The pinnacle achievement so far was the participation of Noor Al-Malki at the London 2012 Olympics. This is just the beginning for Qatar’s ambitions and there is no better time to harness the power of hosting the World Championships and use it as a catalyst for increased female participation in athletics.
Connecting more young females to athletics is not Adams’ only reason for supporting Doha 2019’s Bid. Adams has experience of competing in Doha at both the Diamond League and the 2010 World Indoor Championships and feels that Doha would be a good choice for the athletes thanks to its superior organisation and multi-cultural crowds. Speaking about her experience, Adams said:
“My experience of competing in Doha was awesome. The organisation, the hotel, the food and the way that they were caring for us was really top notch. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and ensure you have what you need. The crowd was absolutely fantastic and was very multicultural – there were a couple of kiwis in the crowd cheering me on, which took me by surprise and was a really special moment. I know that Doha would host a fantastic World Championships in 2019 – one that both takes care of all the needs of the athletes and one that brings a new flavour and a new culture to our sport.”
Speaking about Valerie Adams’ support, President of the Qatar Athletics Federation, Dahlan Al Hamad said:
“Valerie is one of athletics’ most successful female athletes of all time and it is an absolute honour to have her support for Doha 2019. She is a fantastic role model for young girls around the world and one that so many of them look up to and aspire to be like. We need more female role models in athletics in the Middle East and there is no better way to achieve this than by hosting the IAAF World Championships. At the London 2012 Olympics, Noor Al-Malki was Qatar’s first ever female representative. This was a big step forward in female athletics development in Qatar but it is our aim to go much further. Showcasing live athletics to young girls across the region will be a massive boost to our ambitions of increasing female participation in athletics from a grassroots level upwards.”
Doha is competing against bids from Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain. The cities each submitted their Candidature Files on 25th September and each city will receive a visit from the IAAF Evaluation Commission next month. The final decision will be taken by the IAAF Council at its meeting in Monaco in November 2014.
You can watch Valerie Adams’ message of support here: http://youtu.be/MDkph74tVtc
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